Brexit 5: Britain a sovereign nation as Boris takes back control

By Chris Whitehouse December 24, 2020 2:36 pm

Surprise, surprise, as Cilla would have said, we will have a British trade deal with the European Union – just as I’ve consistently predicted would be the case.

But, what a faff this has been. Every Brussels-watcher on the planet knew the UK/EU trade talks would go to the 11th hour 59th minute, and then a deal would be done. It’s just the way the EU plays the game. All that wasted political energy, grandstanding and sabre-rattling could have been avoided if the EU side had recognised Boris Johnson’s democratic mandate from the last general election and his serious commitment to the securing of Britain’s national sovereignty.

Five things for political consultants to note about this imminent deal:

First, it’s a major boost to Boris Johnson’s political credibility with the nation and, in particular, with his restless MPs who feared a last-minute political sell-out, and a compromise on Britain’s national sovereignty. The boy who wanted to be “King of the World”, Boris at least stood firm enough to claw back Britain’s right to self-determination.

Second, it confirms there won’t be a border in Ireland, or in the Irish sea for that matter. The threat of such a land border, in particular, was always a complete red-herring: Ireland didn’t want one, Northern Ireland didn’t want one, the EU didn’t want one, Britain didn’t want one, and the United States of America didn’t want one… so who on Earth was ever going to construct one?

Third, it will give business what it craves: certainty. Or at least it gives business a degree of certainty, since real certainty is now a thing of the past. If you doubt that assertion, let me gently enquire as to how last new year’s plans for 2020 went?

Oddly enough, the pandemic strengthened, rather than weakened, Boris Johnson’s political hand of cards. The disruption to life, to business, to trade, to travel and to every other aspect of human activity has been so substantial that Brexit without an agreement would have been a minor hiccup in comparison. It became a small political risk worth taking.

There will now be a huge surge in investment, the rolling out of business plans so that companies can adapt, evolve and grow just as the vaccine roll-out in turn draws the sting of the pandemic. Hold onto your Christmas hats, it may be a bumpy ride, but the opportunities for Britain’s post-Brexit economic growth could not be better timed.

Talking of herrings, the coming deal, fourthly, takes a responsible approach, as it was always going to, for the phased reduction of the EU’s access to Britain’s fish stocks. Politically, Boris had to take back control, and he has demonstrably done so, because, fifthly, trade disputes will be settled in future not through the institutions of faux impartiality established by the European Union, but rather through the established international mechanisms used for other trade deals and political treaties.

Great Britain to come back as a sovereign nation, with its currency and stock market rising already. It will remain a good friend and trading partner of its European neighbours – desiring their economic success, since that is vital to its own – but free to act globally to achieve its own political and economic ambitions.

I close by taking this opportunity to extend to all our readers our very best wishes for a happy and holy Christmas, and a peaceful, productive and hopefully a little more predictable, New Year!

The Whitehouse team are experts in providing public relations, communications and public affairs advice and political analysis to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union and beyond. For more information, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at chris.whitehouse@whitehouseconsulting.co.uk.

By Chris Whitehouse December 24, 2020 2:36 pm

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